Preparing for the 2016 Tax Season

1. Check your withholdings:
If you’ve had a big refund before, you should consider lowering your income tax withholdings if your income and deductions will remain similar in the next year. Alternately, if you’ve owed a substantial sum in your previous filings, you may want to consider increasing your tax withholdings to try and lessen the
tax burden due on April 15th.
2. Examine your information:
It’s a good time to meet with your tax preparer now – waiting until February of 2016 could add increased stress when you’re getting ready to file your 1040 return. Get together and look at your tax situation and start planning ahead now if you have had any major changes in your tax situation.
 3. Get your books or financials in order:
If you’re doing anything beyond working, it’s time to start getting everything in order so that you aren’t rushing at the beginning of 2016. And if you’re a small business or have rental properties, be sure to get prepared to issue 1099s or prepare other forms that you’ll need to complete your taxes.
 4. Set aside receipts:
Don’t wait until the end of the year to start thinking about deductions – be smart and start pulling together the records immediately so that they are close at hand come tax time. Take some time to organize them now.
 5. Do some fall cleaning:
Now’s a great time to clear the clutter as the days fall shorter. Do some fall cleaning by gathering your old clothing and household items and donating it to a charitable organization. Be sure to get a receipt for your donation, and when you prepare your taxes, apply a ‘fair market value’ to that donation. Use a guide from one of the charities such as salvation army.com to assess the value of your donation. Attach the list of what you donated to your receipt from the charity for your records and note the value. Your generosity may be worth $25 to $35 in tax savings for every $100 value of the items you donate.

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